Surely one of the most important moments in Colombian history is the battle for independence. And the monument that goes with it is Puente de Boyacá (the Bridge of Boyacá). If you are a traveler travelling by bus from Bogotá to the north, for example to Villa de Leyva or San Gil, then there is a good chance you will pass by this special place. From the road you can immediately see that there is something, because this monument is not a small statue, but an entire area where you can have a good time. In this article I tell you about the history, you read about what you can see and do at the monument and enjoy the photos. Puente de Boyacá: discover a little more about Colombia
This is where the battle for independence was fought
Puente de Boyacá is a national monument with important significance to Colombian history. On Aug. 7, 1819, the Battle of Boyacá was fought on this site, with the goal of independence from what was then called Nueva Granada, and later became an independent Colombia. The Liberation Army, led by Simón Bolívar, Francisco de Paula Santander and José Antonio Anzoátegui, together with the British, defeated the Spanish. Today, statues of Bolívar and Santander, among others, proudly adorn this spot, and every year on Aug. 7, Colombia once again celebrates their great victory.
Photo: Plaza de Banderas via Shutterstock
What is there to see? The monuments and statues.
Puente de Boyacá is not one structure, but a small natural area where you will find all kinds of monuments and statues:
- The monument of liberator Simón Bolívar. At the highest point of this important place is a large structure, also called “Von Miller”. A whopping 18 meters tall, Simón Bolívar reaches above everything else. Bolívar is surrounded by five women who symbolize the five nations liberated at the time by this hero: Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. On the front you will see the statue of Clio, the muse of history holding a manuscript.
- The statue of General Francisco de Paula Santander. You will find this statue further down, along with the Obelisk, in the Plaza de Banderas, as a tribute to the liberators.
- The Arc de Triomphe (Triumphal Arch). To the northwest, you will find the Arc de Triomphe, dedicated to all the officers and soldiers who participated in the battle. At the top are three faces symbolizing the Colombian people: indigenous, Hispanic and African.
- The Obelisk Victoria of Boyacá.
- The flags of the 123 municipalities in Boyacá. This is probably the first thing you notice as you approach this place.
- Plaza de Banderas and the flame of freedom. At one of the most important and eye-catching spots on Puente de Boyacá, where the flags and fire catch your attention.
- Puente de Boyacá. The famous little bridge of Boyacá. It is only a small bridge and much less conspicuous than the other monuments, but it is the place where the battle took place.
- There is also a small chapel where services are held regularly.
In addition to the monuments, there are some restaurants and a restroom. If you arrive very early the place is almost deserted, but later in the day it gets crowded. There also seems to be a museum, but I have never seen it open. Maybe because we were always there very early (around 7 to 8 in the morning). At Christmas, Puente de Boyacá is beautifully illuminated.
Photo: the bridge via Shutterstock
What is there to do?
I myself have stopped about five times at Puente de Boyacá. In fact, if you leave early, it is the perfect place to take a walk or eat breakfast. When we leave by car, we usually bring our own food and drinks, then walk up the steps to Simón Bolívar and enjoy the view with our sandwich and coffee. Before driving on, this is also the time to go to the restroom. The scenery is beautiful and the fresh air really does you good. You can also take a walk past all the monuments there. You will be surprised how big this area is. The nice thing about Puente de Boyacá is also that you can expect all kinds of weather because of its high altitude. For example, one time we were in the clouds and saw nothing at all, and another time it was completely clear with sunshine. The clouds at sunrise add a mysterious touch to this place in the middle of nature.
Puente de Boyacá: practical
Where is Puente de Boyacá located?
Puente de Boyacá is located some 110 kilometers from Bogotá up north along the Pan-American Highway, 14 kilometers south of the town of Tunja, in a valley crossed by the Teatinos River. So if you drive north from Bogotá you will pass it naturally and see the monument from the road. There are restaurants and restrooms and sometimes there are events, such as a market for Christmas. The monument is located at an altitude of 2820 meters, so don’t expect temperatures of 25 degrees. Does expect beautiful views (when not in the clouds)!
How to get there.
If you get a chance to stop there on the route I would definitely do so. However, driving to the monument alone for the memorial may not be necessary, but if you pass by it is a great place to eat your sandwich with coffee and relax for a while during a road trip. So, you get there if the bus stops there, or if you travel north (or south) by car. It is also close to Villa de Leyva (about 1 to 1.5 hours) and Tunja.
An interesting stop during a long drive in Colombia.